Thursday Thoughts - Discussion about books

Thursday Thoughts is a weekly feature on Ashley’s Blog Ok, Let’s Read. Each thursday, Ashley would open a discussion related to reading. This week, the topic is book buying ban.
“Have you ever put yourself on a book buying ban? Do you believe that book buying bans actually can make a difference? At what point do you decide that it’s really time to put yourself on a book buying ban?”
Feel free to join and/or check other people’s opinion on Ashley’s post!

I can guess a few reasons why you would want to refrain from buying books: mostly to deal with a book buying addiction, money issue, or maybe simply to reduce your to-be-read pile. But… I’m just guessing, because I never did it and can’t imagine doing it. On the other hand, I do pay attention to how many books I buy, and more importantly, what sort of books I purchased in order to fit my collection. So, although I never committed myself to a book buying ban, I have an on-going book-buying set of rules to keep me, my wallet and my bookshelves happy.

Building the dream bookshelves

When I left my parent’s home – which was a place literally filled with books from floor to ceiling – I took with me my starting book collection, expecting to see it thrive in my new home just like a sprouting seed in fresh soil. Little did I know that I would move exactly seven times in the ten coming years. And you know, books are heavy. Real heavy. For instance, you don’t really want to carry this old one-thousand pages classic from school that you didn’t even like anyway. You trim, and trim, and trim again. Four years ago, I finally moved from France to Canada and the cost of shipping our things from Paris to Ottawa took the best of our book collection. We only kept what we really, really loved.
This is probably how, over the years, my vision of the dream bookshelves shifted. Before, I would buy books I wanted to read and they would end up on my bookshelves. Now, only books I’m sure I want to keep make it to my collection. Regularly I would buy a book after I read a copy from the library.

Saving money and saving trees

Besides, another reason recently came to join this book buying limitation. When I saw that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone sold more than 100 millions copies, it just made me dizzy. How many trees did that require? Was it worth it or necessary, considering most of us read the series just once?
Furthermore, books got expensive. Recently I’ve seen thin new books sold for up to $40 and I found that excessive. At least, I can’t afford that considering how many books I read in a month.
Both issues put together, it made me find ways to limit the number of brand-new books I purchased without limiting my reading.

How to read without spending… too much

Actually, it’s extremely easy to read new and old books if you can trade money with patience.

  • If you have access to a library, make the best of it! I’m in the Ottawa Library every week. They have new books and even eBooks. They have 95% of the books I want to read. Patience is needed to wait for the book to be available, but that’s really much it.
  • For Classics, remember they might be in public domain. Check eBooks from Gutenberg Project and other public domain resources.
  • Share and exchange with friends (well, that’s an obvious one)
  • Buy second-hand: on the internet (like AbeBooks), but also check for second-hand bookstores around your area, thrift stores and again your library. I get great books in excellent condition for $2 in the Salvation Army thrift store next door! (Donate back books you don’t want to keep!)
  • As a rule, don’t buy a book if you know you can’t read it within a month. Make a list on your phone and/or on GoodReads or Babelio so you remember you were interested in it.
  • As a second rule, don’t buy a brand-new book on a whim. Read some reviews first or ask about the book to your friend readers. If it’s brand new, you can go back any time to buy it.
  • Set a goal for your collection so you don’t buy just anything!

That’s all my tips. A book buying ban seems a bit excessive to me, I would probably not be able to hold it long. On the other hand, I do limit the number of books I buy for economical and ecological reason, but also because I want my book collection to contain only the books I found really special!

What are the reason why you would refrain from buying books?